City’s Wilkinson eyes ALW derby redemption

Finally off the mark in her debut A-League Women season, Melbourne City striker Hannah Wilkinson is ready to seize the Melbourne derby by the scruff of the neck.

The New Zealand international had a frustrating first two games at City, getting in all the right places without getting on the scoresheet.

That changed in last week’s 3-1 win over Adelaide United, where Wilkinson, 29, scored a brace.

“It took me a minute to get going there,” Wilkinson told AAP.

“I had a few close opportunities, particularly against Canberra.

“It was always coming. It was just a matter of keeping up with the chances and burying one of them and thankfully I’ve managed to get two the last game, so it was awesome.”

After playing college soccer in the United States, Wilkinson has spent much of her professional career in Europe playing in Sweden, Portugal and Germany.

The NZ centurion was convinced to join City by international teammate Rebekah Stott, who has shone in midfield since returning from Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

“I’ve always wanted to play in this league, it’s been a long time coming,” Wilkinson said. 

“The timing has never really been right for me because I’ve been in leagues that just go for so long over in Europe and in college in America in my early days, and I just needed that Christmas break just to relax and unwind. 

“It was perfect timing after a short period in Germany to just come straight here and play after the Olympics. 

“Melbourne City appealed to me because it’s such a professional environment and also having Rebekah Stott here, a good mate and a fantastic player there as well.

“I’m stoked with my decision. I’m loving it so far.”

Last time out, Victory came back from a goal down to win 2-1 with Lynn Williams coming on in the 62nd minute and inspiring a dramatic comeback.

Wilkinson is confident a “fiery” City can flip the script on Sunday.

“When Lynn Williams came in everyone was a bit shell shocked and we were frustrated because we couldn’t seem to put away our chances, even though we were actually creating them,” she said. 

“That whole game in a way it was a good learning experience. 

“We can look at the ways that we can exploit Victory and it’s all there. We have the potential to beat them for sure and now we’ve got a chance to do that.”